From the day John Arpino was born into his large Italian family, he suffered respiratory problems, serious ones that required hospitalization. “I was in the hospital for nine Halloweens as a kid,” Arpino says. Between the side effects of his asthma medications and Italian food in abundance, Arpino got large. He says he was always social, though: “I never wanted to be the fat kid with no friends. So I made myself the life of the party, the nice guy.”
In 2015, Arpino was deeply affected by the death of his grandmother, who raised him, and he went into a depression that he treated with “eating, drinking, partying and not caring” until a severe asthma attack nearly took his life. “While I was in code blue, I prayed to my grandmother and promised that if I survived I would do something about my weight,” Arpino said. He survived and eventually found a gym and a personal trainer he liked. He did well and lost 70 pounds. But the recurring pattern of losing weight, having an asthma attack, going on steroids only to regain the weight because of the meds was defeating. “I needed to get a jump start. My mind was there, but my body wasn’t keeping up,” Arpino said.
He had gastric sleeve surgery seven months ago and has now lost nearly 180 pounds (he wants to drop 55 more). “I will sustain this lifestyle forever. I’m way more active than I ever was. I go on amusement park rides because I can fit in the seats now. I’m actually doing sports, not just watching . . . and I can fit into regular concert seats and don’t have to buy floor seats anymore.”
Breakfast is a three-egg-white omelet with spinach, avocado, tomato, peppers and onions. Lunch can be turkey or chicken sausage and broccoli rabe. Dinner is usually grilled chicken and a vegetable. He snacks on turkey pepperoni.
Arpino works out nearly three hours a night, six days a week. He does cardio for 90 minutes on the elliptical, bike or treadmill, then another 90 minutes of weight training.
“There are many people in the same situation I was in who don’t realize that if they address the problem now, they can enjoy a life they didn’t know was possible. I really want to help people who are where I was. I’ve started an Instagram page (@jarps_journey) to show people my age how it can be done.”
Brush with death put him on path to successful weight loss